FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Federal health officials, after encouraging alternate sign-up methods amid the fumbled rollout of their online insurance website, began quietly urging counselors around the country this week to stop using paper applications to enroll people in health insurance because of concerns those applications would not be processed in time.
The passing of Nelson Mandela leaves a waning number of global figures representing freedom and resilience against oppression — and a changing world that makes it harder for anyone to approach Mandela's iconic power.
There are a few whose trials have made them symbols of freedom, including the former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, the Dalai Lama and, more recently, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl turned women's rights activist .
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Police say a Waltham man is dead after his vehicle left the road, went through a fence and crashed into a building in Cambridge, trapping the seriously injured driver.
State police say in a statement released Saturday that investigators are trying to figure out why the car crashed into a house on Concord Turnpike Friday night.
WORCESTER, Mass. — The trial of a Princeton man charged with fatally stabbing another man at a Worcester party earlier this year has been delayed because his lawyer was recently appointed a judge.
Twenty-one-year-old Jay Anderson's first-degree murder trial was scheduled to start last week.
The Telegram & Gazette reports that the trial was postponed until next year because Anderson's court-appointed lawyer, Christopher LoConto, was named last month as an associate justice of the Fitchburg District Court.
BOSTON — Voters in the 5th Congressional District are heading to the polls this week to decide the latest in a string of special elections in Massachusetts.
The race pits Democratic state Sen. Katherine Clark of Melrose against Republican Frank Addivinola, a Boston attorney. Both won their respective party primaries in October.
The victor will fill the seat left vacant by Edward Markey, who resigned after winning a special election to fill John Kerry's U.S. Senate seat. Kerry had stepped down to become secretary of state.
MANAMA, Bahrain — Iraq's top diplomat warned Saturday that the "toxic" proliferation of extremist groups among Syria's rebels raises the prospect of a jihadist-ruled territory at the heart of the region.
The comments by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari reflect Iraq's fears that the Syrian conflict is imperiling its fragile domestic security, as well as growing international alarm about the risk posed by waves of foreign fighters bolstering the ranks of armed groups fighting to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
SHREWSBURY, Mass. — A Shrewsbury business owner says he is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in Massachusetts.
Mark Fisher, who has never sought elective office, announced his candidacy in a recent press release.
Charles Baker, the former head of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the 2010 GOP nominee for governor, is running again for the office.
Fisher said his first priority as governor would be to remove all tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
On his website, Fisher describes himself as a member of the tea party and a political outsider.
BANGKOK — Thailand's prime minister said Saturday that she will not cling to power and that she is ready to resign and dissolve Parliament if all parties agree to hold new elections.
But Yingluck Shinawatra acknowledged that the leader of the country's biggest anti-government demonstrations in years has rejected all of those things, and said she sees no quick end to her country's deep political impasse. The only way forward, she said, is to talk.
BAGHDAD — Iraqi authorities say two separate bombings north of Baghdad have killed at least four people.
Police officials say a bomb went off Saturday afternoon inside an outdoor market in the northern city of Mosul, killing two shoppers and wounding 15 others.
One hour later, police said two people were killed and seven others were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded on a road frequently used by military convoys in Mishahda village, just north of the capital.
WASHINGTON — To a struggling White House, the economy that was supposed to be a political millstone is losing some drag.
An uptick in growth and a downturn in unemployment give the president a stronger story line going into the 2014 congressional election year. They also provide Democrats with a counterpoint to Republican attacks on Obama's health law.
The economy has pushed ahead despite a government shutdown, edge-of-the-cliff deals on the debt, and indiscriminate budget cuts that were supposed to hold back the recovery.
WILMINGTON, Del. — Delaware State police are investigating an early morning shooting at a nightclub after a show by hip-hop artist Meek Mill that left four people with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.
State police spokesman Sgt. Paul Shavack says that when troopers arrived at the Moodswing Niteclub in Wilmington just before 2 a.m. Saturday, about 600 to 700 people were in the parking lot trying to get away from the shooting. They were running and in their cars.
CONCORD, N.H. — A teenager who disappeared nearly two months ago mailed her mother a letter several weeks after she was last seen, law enforcement officials said Friday.
The FBI and New Hampshire attorney general's office said 15-year-old Abigail Hernandez wrote her mother on Oct. 22. The letter was postmarked Oct. 23, two weeks after she was last seen on Oct. 9, but the family didn't get the letter until Nov. 6.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said the delay may have been caused by the letter going to a post office box and not the Hernandez house.
LONDON — Conservation authorities say hundreds of seals may have fallen victim to this week's floods in eastern England, and are warning people not to try to help stranded pups.
The National Trust says gray seal pups have been washed from a beach at Horsey in the county of Norfolk.
Seals arrive on the beach each November to give birth, and the pups spend their first few weeks on the dunes.
The trust says the pups should be left alone so that their mothers can try to find them.
WORCESTER, Mass. — A Worcester man is being held as an accessory after allegedly helping to move and burn the body of a woman found dead behind a home this week.
The Telegram & Gazette reports 34-year-old Dominic Jackson was arraigned Friday at UMass Memorial Medical Center. He pleaded not guilty to accessory after the fact to murder and drug possession. He's held until a dangerousness hearing next week.
Police haven't identified the 20-year-old woman found Wednesday morning.
BROCKTON, Mass. — The design and screen printing program at the Keith Center in Brockton pushes students to use their creativity to produce a product, said Robert Leary, who teaches the course.
He noted, however, that the class does more than just teach students how to design apparel.
"I think it helps them by giving insight into how a small business would run," he said. "They know what things cost and how to meet customers' demands. It also gives them the opportunity to use their creativity when designing the shirts."
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed before they expire at the end of the year.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says more than one million Americans will lose benefits if lawmakers don't act. He says unemployment insurance is one of the most effective ways to boost the economy and that providing benefits does not stop people from trying to find work.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said he is willing to consider extending the jobless benefits.
WASHINGTON — A longtime adviser to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence has resigned after the government learned he has worked since 2010 as a paid consultant for Huawei Technologies Ltd., the Chinese technology company the U.S. has condemned as an espionage threat, The Associated Press has learned.
MANAMA, Bahrain — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel opened the door for the U.S. to sell missile defense and other weapons systems to U.S.-friendly Gulf nations, with an eye toward boosting their abilities to counter Iran's ballistic missiles, even as global powers ink a nuclear deal with Tehran.
In a speech Saturday to Gulf leaders, Hagel made it clear that the emerging global agreement that would limit Iran's nuclear program doesn't mean the security threat from Iran is over.
DALLAS — Highways in normally sun-drenched North Texas are mostly empty and covered in with a frosty coating, making for a slightly otherworldly look amid closed businesses and millions of residents hunkered down for a weekend of icy conditions.
Freezing rain and stinging winds slammed the Southwest Friday, after Texans earlier basked in 80-degree weather.
NEW YORK — The Metro-North Railroad has until Tuesday to identify places in its system with major speed changes under an order from federal transportation officials requiring an extra worker in the driver's cab on routes like the one where a speeding commuter train derailed this week, killing four people.